Talking Together: language support at home for parents of 2 year olds

This study will carry out a pragmatic feasibility evaluation of Talking Together, a home-based early intervention programme supporting the development of 2 year olds identified at risk of language delay. The programme is currently run by the charity BHT Early Education & Training, as part of the public health initiative ‘Better Start Bradford’, which targets families with young children living in ethnically diverse and deprived inner-city areas.

Strong language skills have been found to underpin children’s educational achievement, and the home learning environment is essential in the development of language in the early years. Research has found that children from socially deprived backgrounds are at a higher risk of developing language difficulties compared to their more affluent peers. In the area of Bradford where Talking Together is run, children are less likely to achieve a good level of development in language and communication by the end of their first year at school. 

Talking Together involves trained Language Development Workers conducting a 6-week home visiting programme with the families of 2 year olds who might benefit from the programme, providing parents with the knowledge, confidence and tools to develop their child’s communication skills.

Researchers will explore trends in outcomes and initial evidence of promise of the programme as well as assessing the feasibility of conducting a large-scale randomised-controlled trial of the programme in the future, in other areas of the country.  They will measure child language outcomes for a treatment and control group at the beginning and end of end the intervention and three months after the completion of the programme. Qualitative work will also be carried out with Learning Development Workers and programme managers to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of running a future trial. Qualitative work with parents will explore the perceptions of the programme for parents, and the acceptability and feasibility of the evaluation including parents who receive the programme in a language other than English. 

Project details



Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane, Department of Education, University of York

Dr Dea Nielson, Department of Education, University of York

Dr Josie Dickerson & Dr Tiffany Yang,  Bradford Institute of Health Research, Born in Bradford (BIHR)

Dr Maria Bryant, Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research, University of Leeds

Rebecca Heald & Amanda Hall, BHT Early Education and Training

Grant amount and duration:


September 2018 – February 2021